Puzzling Evidence

Atrios links to a particularly clueless hack named Matt Bai at the NYT:

Democrats in Washington are divided and somewhat puzzled over President Obama’s fading popularity. They reject, of course, the Republican view that the president is basically a closet Socialist whose disdain for free enterprise has alienated voters. But that’s about as far as the consensus goes.

In conversations over the past few weeks, some of the party’s leading strategists told me that it all comes down to messaging, or — here’s that ubiquitous word again — “framing.” The president who ran such a brilliant campaign, they argue, has utterly failed to communicate his successes. They cited factors like the president’s cool demeanor and suggested that he hadn’t used the right words or shown the proper empathy.

Seriously?  They’re “puzzled?”  It’s a problem of “framing?”

The last Democrat elected president won because he was able to effectively show how out-of-touch King George I and Republicans were with the economic problems experienced by the majority of Americans.  Obama won partly because the economy cratered not long before the election, thanks to the financial shell game enabled by King George II and his fatcat buddies.  Now, after some half-assed (and some spectacularly awful) attempts to fix things, people are wondering why Obama isn’t Mr. Popularity.

This administration is full of former Clintonites.  Could they possibly be that stupid?  IT’S THE FUCKING ECONOMY, YOU STUPID FUCKS!!!  John Podesta, I’m talking to YOU:

Like other Democrats, Mr. Podesta, who now runs the liberal Center for American Progress and is arguably the most influential Washington Democrat not currently in government, assumes that many of the president’s struggles were unavoidable. Stubborn joblessness and anemic growth have thus far resisted intervention and defined the administration.

No, those things have not resisted intervention, because THERE HASN’T BEEN ENOUGH FUCKING INTERVENTION.  The goddamn Blue Dogs have managed to water down every meaningful proposal, and have allied themselves with the know-nothing, do-nothing Republicans.  The White House hasn’t push hard enough to get things passed.  And assholes like Geithner and Summers have won out in the influence game over people like Romer and Warren.

Mr. Obama’s central strategy was to concentrate on cajoling Democratic lawmakers into passing a series of bills — the stimulus package, the health care overhaul, a new set of financial regulations. Rather than spend a lot of time rallying public support for the agenda, Mr. Podesta said, the administration expected to get an “updraft” from an improving economy; the bet was that, as unemployment came down and consumer confidence rose, public opinion would more or less take care of itself.

“That strategy was built on the no-economic-stall option,” Mr. Podesta said. “In other words, the idea was that you didn’t have to get the unemployment rate to a certain number, but you had to get unemployment going in the right direction, and people would feel that, and it would be palpable.”

The problem, as Mr. Podesta says, is that “we’re all still waiting for that.”

And so, without the modest economic revival Mr. Obama and his aides expected, voters saw trillions of dollars being spent and wondered whether there was a coherent strategy for growth. Mr. Obama, whose skills as an explainer were so instrumental in winning the office, did little sustained explaining of the crisis outside Washington.

Yes, that’s the problem – Obama didn’t “explain” things well enough.  What part of “results-oriented populace” don’t these idiots understand?  No amount of explaining is going to amount to a hill of beans unless the policies you are explaining actually worked.

Yes, there have been big legislative accomplishments.  The stimulus package helped stave off another depression.  But it wasn’t big enough to address all of the problems, and money still isn’t being spent on crucial infrastructure projects.  We have health care reform.  But without a public option, there is no pressure on insurers, hospitals, or Big Pharma to keep costs down.  We have financial reform, but without any teeth, and without a robust Consumer Protection agency with someone like Elizabeth Warren in charge, nothing much is going to change for the banksters.  Thanks to all of these half-assed measures, Republicans have been given the opening to say, “See?  All that gubmint money being spent, and none of it is doing any good!”

And things are getting worse.  The failure of HAMP means that foreclosures will continue to rise, and bankruptcies will go through the roof.  Meanwhile, democrats will work on their “framing,” Republicans will scream about “socialism” and Muslims building mosques, and everything will continue to swirl down the toilet bowl and into the sewer.  Heckuva job.

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7 Responses to Puzzling Evidence

  1. StringonaStick says:

    Krugman has been right from day 1 about the state of the economy and the size that the stimulus needed to be i order to actually, you know,work. Robert Reich has been no slouch either on these topics, and yet neither gets treated with the respect they deserve; POTUS ain’t calling them. Anyone with any real understanding of economics (not Geitner and Summers) could have told POTUS the day he was inaugurated that the economic shit had truly hit the fan and 1930-style interventions were needed. I actually think the rethugs had a better understanding of how deep the recession/depression would be, and thus their “oppose everything, let nothing pass” strategy would make sure the economy stayed in the shitter for the 2010 midterm elections. Podesta is an idiot to think/have thought that the financial implosion we had in 2008 was going to be all neat, tidy, and forgotten by this coming November; that is a historic miscalculation.

    If I could change one thing about this presidency, it would be to put Krugman and Reich in charge of all economic policies, and implant a spine in Obama to get their ideas rammed throught the blue dogs and their rethug confederates. Without an improving economy, the rethugs are going to take over again and everyone up to and including what remains of the middle class are going to suck it, hard, for what remains of my lifetime. Fucking namby pamby idiots…

    • The only thing that gives me hope is that Reagan was just as unpopular as Obama is now at the mid-year election in his first term. Even David Fucking Broder, at the time, said:

      What we are witnessing this January is not the midpoint in the Reagan presidency, but its phase-out. “Reaganism,” it is becoming increasingly clear, was a one- year phenomenon, lasting from his nomination in the summer of 1980 to the passage of his first budget and tax bills in the summer of 1981.

      Democrats picked up some seats in ’82, but instead of slowing down the Reagan “revolution,” they were bulldozed by an economic upturn and the resultant upturn in Reagan’s popularity, and he won re-election in a landslide. Of course, those were different times; Reagan wasn’t a mixed-race “muslim” “foreigner,” and the right-wing insanity and paranoia currently dominating the political landscape was non-existent. If the Democrats somehow find their balls and start calling out the Republicans for obstructing any and all attempts to fix the economy, and somehow get some things done in spite of the opposition, maybe things will improve in ’11. And maybe Obama will show some steel and abandon the “bipartisan” bullshit approach to governing. Maybe.

      • StringonaStick says:

        I should have added that things getting appreciably better by 2012 isn’t a given either; most of the financial types I know and respect are figuring on at least 5 years of the current malaise. That’s a recipe for societal discord on a massive scale, especially when you consider the very real point that the right is currently engaged in an effort to divide this country along the lines of George Wallace in the early 1970s (thanks, Will Bunch, you hit that one on the head yesterday). The GOPers are currently willing to burn it all down if it gets them back in power.

        I think the one thing that could derail the burn-it-all-down plan is if the corporations get fed up with the reduced profits a real burn-it-down would bring, since that would have worldwide consequences profit-wise. Well, at least it will this time, because if the burn-down in the US is real that means the global economy goes with it; after that we’ll no longer be so important on the world stage and we won’t be able to trigger such events.

        You know, for a party of rabid anti-communists the GOP delivered us right into China’s hand via Dubya’s deficit spending, and if they take the burn-it-down approach they will also be responsible for destroying the thing they masturbate over the most: being the one remaining global superpower. But I guess if it gets them back in power, then no biggie as far as they see it.

      • I agree. This “malaise” is a world-historical event, and unfortunately most of the so-called “First World” is trying to deal with it in exactly the wrong way – through forcing “austerity” on everyone, instead of stimulating their economies by pumping money into them. Reagan had a lousy economy and high unemployment to deal with, but that had more to do with the “oil shock” of the ’70s and associated problems than with the systematic destruction of regulatory structures and policies designed to let greedy motherfucking capitalists rape and pillage their way through the wealth of America, all of which had its genesis with…Reagan.

        As far as the GOP is concerned, it has always been short-term gain with them, and fuck the long-term consequences of anything they say or do. If it pisses off liberals, punches hippies, and inflames the 27% of troglodytic no-nothings that is their base, it’s good to go. That’s how they win elections; that’s how they govern. If Democrats want to stay in power, they should start pointing this out early, often, and loudly. But of course, they will instead hire political consultants that will tell them to tack right and try to seek common ground with people who think that Obama’s a non-American-born muslim communistic fascist, and that allowing an Islamic community center to be built two blocks away from ground zero is far worse sacrilege than allowing the proliferation of titty bars and porn shops that currently dominate the area.

        I alternate between guarded optimism and outright despair.

  2. Sharon Brown says:

    This is OT, but have you or molly read letsgetitdone @FDL? Randy’s Terrific Rant. I have no idea how to do links bigboy so you can find it yourself. He discusses the Inter active Voter Choice System & it sounds like your idea for “99ers” has met an aide.
    gawd i think i have alzheimers sometimes the way words escape my grasp.
    i know —- it’s my eastern european heritage.
    from one half-yugoslav to whatever you are

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